We had the good fortune of connecting with Tayler Suterko and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tayler, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After I got my bachelors degree it never occurred to me that I could work for myself. I worked for years in a corporate environment and had to follow the rules in terms of when and how I worked. I never felt passionate about my job and I admittedly put in the least amount of effort needed because I was bored. I never imagined that I could completely control how much I made and how I earned my living. I decided to quit my job unexpectedly during a trip to Europe with my family and spent the week reflecting on what I would do next. After setting up interviews with new companies and sending my resume everywhere I realized I couldn’t do this anymore. I was shooting 10-15 weddings a year on the side and the thought of continuing to let my passion take a back seat to another boring job seemed unbearable. I knew I had enough saved up to get me through the year if it failed, so I took a leap of faith and went full time as a photographer. My business took off immediately and I was shocked by my success. I couldn’t believe I had doubled my income and I didn’t even feel like I was working. For the first time in my life I could honestly say that I LOVED my job. Turning my hobby into my full time job was never my intention from the start, but I’m beyond happy that this is what it has become. My biggest advice to people wanting to start their own business is easy: save enough money to keep you afloat for a year and turn your real passion into your moneymaker. Having a side hustle is everything, it helps you build your business while also saving up to take the big jump. You will never feel totally ready but you will always be glad you did it!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My brand is 100% me. As a wedding photographer, it’s important that I only work with people who enjoy me as much as I enjoy them. I put myself out there and make sure everyone gets to know the real me through my work and through my online presence. Anyone can take a photo, but only the right person can really capture who a person truly is. I believe that the only way to do this is through really connecting with that person beforehand. I have the responsibility of capturing the love between to people and freezing that moment in time. I must feel a connection with people in order to do that, which is why it’s so important that they feel comfortable around me and they really feel like they know me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If someone was visiting San Diego I would have to take them to all of my favorite spots! I spend a lot of time outdoors at the beach or taking long walks in nature with my dogs, so that’s always a must. There’s so many good places to eat and shop in Liberty Station and Gaslamp. My favorite spots have to be The Patio, Moniker, Pigment, Mimi and Red, The Grass Skirt, Juniper + Ivy, and Polite Provisions.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It’s very cliche, but my parents deserve a lot of credit. I don’t know that I would have taken the leap of starting my own business without knowing I had their support. My mom always told me, “no matter what happens you will never be homeless” and that meant everything. I knew I could afford to fail because my happiness was on the line and they had my back no matter what. Support is everything when you are doing something that huge!